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Corruption in Tajikistan hinders foreign investment - Feigenbaum

DUSHANBE, April 13 (RIA Novosti) - Corruption in Tajikistan and the failure to observe democratic commitments is the main obstacle to foreign investment in the country, a deputy U.S. assistant secretary of state said Friday.

President Emomali Rakhmon signed early this year a decree to establish an agency on financial control and fight against corruption, which is believed to be overwhelming in the country and embrace all branches of power.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Evan Feigenbaum said at a conference in Dushanbe, devoted to the 15th anniversary of diplomatic relations, that he hopes the agency will reduce the scale of corruption at all levels.

He also said that the U.S. is interested in supporting independence in the country and Tajikistan is not an object in the U.S. geopolitical struggle with anyone.

Feigenbaum said the U.S. will increase its aid to Tajikistan by 53% year on year to $50 million in 2007 but will redirect it from humanitarian to development projects.

The official also said the U.S. was interested in Tajikistan as a country, which has the longest border with neighboring Afghanistan, a source of international terrorism and drug trafficking.

Feigenbaum called on the republic's leadership to reform election legislation and open the way for the opposition and mass media.

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